Cinergy Brings Heat Down on Reliability
The heat of July and Cinergy's sweaty response to it mean East
Central Area Reliability Coordination Agreement (ECAR) rules are
about to change to strongly discourage the unauthorized drawing of
power from the system.
A recent ECAR investigation concluded that Cinergy broke certain
ECAR and NERC (North American Electric Reliability Council) rules
when it drew between 1,500 and 1,700 MW of power it did not own in
six to eight different hours during the last week of July. NERC
rules say a control area, such as Cinergy, must take all possible
steps regardless of cost to keep load and generation in balance.
ECAR findings say Cinergy did not do that.
Cinergy's actions seriously diminished the system's operating
frequency, and had other factors been in play, blackouts could have
ensued, said Brant Eldridge, ECAR executive manager. He said no
sanctions are currently in place that would allow for the
punishment of Cinergy, but that's about to change.
A recently passed ECAR resolution calls for a reprimand letter
to be sent to Cinergy CEO Jim Rogers. Additionally, the ECAR
membership plans to develop a sanction mechanism --- fines and
revocation of control area status --- in time for next summer. ECAR
is advocating that NERC do the same for the whole country. However,
Cinergy can't be punished retroactively.
Cinergy spokeswoman Kathy Meinke acknowledged the power taken by
the company and said the company has since returned to the system
the megawatts that were taken. "That was done after the fact. I
don't have specific dates, but we did notify ECAR of that, and they
are aware of that.
"What occurred in July does not reflect how we normally operate
or will operate in the future, and we will continue to work with
ECAR in this changing industry as the industry is moving forward."
Eldridge said ECAR has not heard from any of the other nine NERC
regions regarding the Cinergy matter. "Everyone involved in the
reliability end of the business is well aware of what Cinergy did,
and they're now aware of what ECAR did... ECAR reported to the NERC
security committee last week. NERC has endorsed the actions of
He said the Cinergy matter brings to light the fact that it's
time to revamp the 1960s vintage ECAR agreement. "I don't think
this specific happening was particularly contemplated, but there
has been discussion in the ECAR forum for the last couple of years
about the need to restructure our organization and rewrite that
agreement. We had been holding off doing that in view of all the
uncertainty and changes going on at the NERC level and what kind of
organization NERC was going to become."
Joe Fisher, Houston
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